Welcome to the new world order. It just got a little more "Axis-y".
As Venus watched on, the super teamy and adorable Germans completely overwhelmed the American teenyboppers with a 5-0 schpanking (that' s how they'd pronounce it). Oh, and Liezel. She was there, too. More on that later.
With that, the Americans get relegated to World Group II for the first time in Fed Cup history. If you ask me it was a miracle that they were in World Group I for as long as they were, and even more of a miracle (miracler?) that they made back to back Fed Cup finals. This day was inevitable.
But don't worry, America. You're not alone! You'll have some company with two other former tennis superpowers. France has been relegated after failing to come through against the protestin' Spaniards, losing 4-1. On the current state of the French team, to quote Alec Baldwin *and* captain Escude: "It's complicated".
“It was difficult for me to choose the four women I was going to put on team. Alize beat Kuznetsova against Russia but it was her first win for her and she didn’t win a match after. I put Pauline in because she played well this week and Alize did. Aravane had tough beginning of the year in her mind and Virginie had problems in her personal life too. It’s complicated."
Bullshit, Nick. You how you uncomplicate things? YOU PLAY ALIZE EVERY CHANCE YOU GET. If you're going to get relegated you might as well get relegated *and* have a significant presence in my Fed Cup "Pic This" compilations. That only happens if you play Alize.
So we have America and France. Who else should we throw in the mix? Sure, why not Australia! This was the shock of the weekend. Even without Sam and Jelena Dokic, Australia were huge favorites going into Melbourne against a Bonderenko-less Ukraine. Jarka's had a great 2011 and surely, SURELY Rodio can get ONE POINT in singles against two players ranked outside of the top 100.
Jarka held up her side of the deal. She played like a team #1, besting Savchuk and Tsurenko with no problems, dropping only six games in two very quick matches. But Rodio? She lost to Tsurenko 1 and 4 on Saturday and dropped a tight one to Savchuk, 76 76, going to 12-10 in the second set breaker. Australia had one more chance to salvage the tie in the doubles and had two match points on Rodio's serve to clinch. They failed to convert and Team Ukraine came through with the decisive point.
Would it have been different if Sam had played? DUH. But you can't blame Sam and Dave for believing that Jarka and Rodio could take this one home without her services.
So back to World Group II for you, Australia. I hope you enjoyed your one-tie-stint in The Show. As for the Nonderenkos, well done you! Hell of an effort from two players ranked in the hundos.
(Pics: AP, Getty)